Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-03-20T02:27:30Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Roster/Health Notes: Taylor, Verdugo, Cecil, Romano, Kennedy]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=153324 2019-03-15T05:25:01Z 2019-03-15T05:15:19Z The Nationals are suddenly facing a potential roster gap in the outfield, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. Michael Taylor tweaked his knee today and is slated to be looked at more closely tomorrow. With Howie Kendrick also in limbo, both of the club’s right-handed-hitting reserve outfield pieces could be out of commission to open the season. Lefty hitter Andrew Stevenson is the only other 40-man outfielder. Perhaps there’s a chance that the Nats will look to the free agent marketAustin Jackson seems the closest match to Taylor as a right-handed-hitting center fielder — or consider claiming a late-spring roster casualty to boost their depth.

Here are a few more roster notes from around the game:

  • The Dodgers expect to carry Alex Verdugo on the MLB roster to open the year, manager Dave Roberts says (via Pedro Moura of The Athletic, on Twitter). After spending two seasons at Triple-A, where he owns a healthy .321/.389/.452 slash, Verdugo certainly deserves a shot. It remains to be seen how he and others will actually be utilized. As things stand, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger are also available as left-handed-hitting outfield options, though perhaps some roster tweaking could still occur.
  • Cardinals lefty Brett Cecil pitched in an instrasquad game today and threw more balls (15) than strikes (12) in his latest shaky outing, according to Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This spring has been a trial for the veteran reliever, who’s still trying to find himself on the mound after losing a bunch of weight following a brutal 2018 season. Command and velocity are both problems at the moment, as Frederickson’s colleague Derrick Goold recently explored.
  • Right-hander Sal Romano, who has spent the vast majority of his career as a starter, will be converted into a relief role for the Reds moving forward, Bobby Nightengale Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He’ll still be stretched out to the point where he can be relied upon for two- and three-inning relief appearances if needed, though. Unlike some other Reds roster hopefuls, Romano has a minor league option remaining, so it’s possible he’ll continue to acclimate to his new role at the Triple-A level before getting a look the big league ’pen. Romano, who turned 25 this offseason, has long rated as one of the more intriguing arms in the Cincinnati system but hasn’t found MLB success yet. In 232 2/3 innings, he’s mustered just a 4.99 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 — including a 5.31 ERA in 145 2/3 innings of work last year. Making it into the Reds’ rotation would’ve been challenging anyhow, as offseason acquisitions Sonny Gray, Alex Wood and Tanner Roark are expected to join holdovers Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani to round out the starting five.
  • Padres right-hander Brett Kennedy has been diagnosed with a lat strain, per James Clark of the East Village Times (Twitter link). The expectation is that he’ll be sidelined for about a month. Kennedy, 24, scuffled last year in his first six MLB appearances and wasn’t expected to command a big league job out of camp. But he posted impressive results in 2018 at Triple-A, with 89 1/3 innings of 2.72 ERA ball over 16 starts, and is certainly part of the depth picture in San Diego.
]]>
46
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Williams On Optimism Among Reds Fans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=153177 2019-03-13T00:28:23Z 2019-03-13T00:28:23Z
  • The Reds’ offseason additions of Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp were a welcome departure from what has become standard operating procedure for many noncompetitive teams in recent seasons, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While many teams have followed the Astros’ model of aggressively tanking to stockpile draft picks and international bonus resources, the Reds at least positioned themselves to have a chance in the division, even if few would peg them as any sort of favorite. “For the first time in a long time we added multiple well-known major league players to this team in an offseason,” president of baseball operations Dick Williams tells Sherman. “That clearly has people’s imaginations going. That is part of the fun. … Just to be able to ponder the possible and the excitement is a huge psychological benefit to our fans.” Even if the moves ultimately fail to yield dividends, several of the newly acquired assets (namely Wood, Roark and Puig) could hold value on the summer trade market, and the Reds didn’t sacrifice any of the organization’s very top prospects in order to take a shot at improved results in 2019.
  • ]]>
    52
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Michael Lorenzen Utilized As Two-Way Player In Spring Game]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=153124 2019-03-12T12:54:25Z 2019-03-12T04:46:35Z
  • The Reds trotted out Michael Lorenzen as a two-way player in Cactus League action today, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. Dual deployment has long been anticipated, though it was — and remains — unclear how frequent he’ll be called upon to line up in the outfield. Lorenzen was in center field today. The 27-year-old hit a robust .290/.333/.710 with four home runs in 34 plate appearances last year, so it’s understandable that the club would like to see what he can do with more opportunities.
  • ]]>
    71
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Alex Wood Suffers Setback]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=152918 2019-03-10T00:14:08Z 2019-03-10T00:14:08Z
  • Reds left-hander Alex Wood, who has been dealing with back issues over the past couple weeks, suffered a setback after throwing a simulated game Friday, according to manager David Bell (via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Wood hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game since Feb. 25, and it could be at least another week before he makes an appearance, Nightengale suggests. Although Bell said Wood’s injury isn’t “a major concern,” the skipper’s nonetheless unsure whether the winter acquisition will be ready for the start of the season.  Having picked Wood up in a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, the Reds are counting on the 28-year-old to serve as one of the anchors in what they hope will be a vastly improved rotation.
  • ]]>
    49
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[David Bell: Nick Senzel Can Handle Center Field]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=151825 2019-03-03T21:19:16Z 2019-03-03T21:19:16Z
  • As is the case with Tatis, Reds prospect Nick Senzel could be an early season victim of service time manipulation. Senzel’s also trying to learn a new position, center field, as he entered the spring with no game experience there. Already, though, “it’s become clear” Senzel has the ability to handle the position, manager David Bell said Sunday (via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Regardless of whether Senzel’s in center for the Reds from the get-go, the 24-year-old seems like a good bet to see the lion’s share of time at the position for the Reds this year. Senzel’s customary spots – second and third – are spoken for, whereas there’s no established center fielder blocking him in Cincinnati.
  • ]]>
    86
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Service Time Perspectives: Vlad, Bryant, Senzel]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=151245 2019-02-27T13:41:23Z 2019-02-27T05:06:45Z With camp in full swing, we’re watching some of the game’s very best prospects share the field with existing big leaguers. That creates opportunity both for excitement at the youngsters’ eventual regular-season ascent and consternation at the anticipated timing thereof. As teams near decision points on another crop of players, with accusations of service-time manipulation already lurking, let’s take a look at some interesting recent comments on prospect promotion timing:

    • Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins discussed uber-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. today in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio via Twitter). Citing the organization’s focus on “development,” Atkins says of Guerrero: “I just don’t see him as a major league player.” While the consensus top prospect in baseball “has accomplished everything he can accomplish as an offensive player” in the minors, Atkins says, there’s evidently more he needs to work on before he’s to be trusted with a big league job. That includes “the physical aspect, the baserunning, the defense,” per the GM. (That first point represents a nod at Guerrero’s shape, John Lott of The Athletic suggests on Twitter.) The Toronto organization wants Guerrero to “start[] with an incredible foundation” once he reaches the majors so that it can “tap into all of that potential,” says Atkins. Some projection systems already regard Guerrero as one of the most capable hitters on the planet, even without having seen him against MLB pitching, so there’s no question of his readiness in that regard. The Jays, though, purport to believe that the other aspects of his game can benefit more from further game action at the Triple-A level.
    • There are certainly those who’d take a skeptical view of the true motivations where Guerrero and others are concerned. Cubs star Kris Bryant is among them, as Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports (subscription link). Bryant believes the annual top-prospect hold-back represents an effort by teams to exploit “a loophole in the system.” His own promotion timeline more or less represents the most outwardly obvious service-time manipulation imaginable: Bryant was a polished, well-rounded college player who had laid waste to the upper minors and Cactus League pitching and was called upon as soon as the team secured the ability to control him for a full additional season. “It’s funny how obvious it can be,” said Bryant. “But now I can look back on it and just laugh about it because I was told to work on my defense too and I think I got three groundballs in those games that I played,” he added. The Chicago third baseman says that solving the issue will require “compromise” and “a logical solution,” noting that changes to free agent outcomes also serve to highlight the concerns for players.
    • Another much-hyped young player, top Reds prospect Nick Senzel, also has adopted a realistic (bordering on jaded) perspective as he nears his debut. He tells C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (subscription link) that he’s skeptical whether he really has a chance to head north out of camp with the MLB club. “Do I believe it? No,” he said of the Reds’stated intention to carry their best roster out of the gate without reference to service time. “But that’s just my honest opinion. We’ll see.” The Reds do have cover in this case, as Senzel’s 2018 season was cut short by injury and he’s transitioning to a new position, though he could put any questions to rest over the next few weeks. It’s particularly frustrating in Senzel’s case, Rosencrans notes, because he was on track to receive a late-2018 call-up before suffering a broken index finger that cost him the second half of last year.
    ]]>
    153
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Sonny Gray ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=151226 2019-02-27T02:13:26Z 2019-02-27T01:23:43Z
  • Reds right-hander Sonny Gray, who was scratched from his spring debut due to some elbow stiffness, is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday, writes MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The team’s most notable offseason addition to the rotation, Gray will also throw from flat ground at a distance of 120 feet today, per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay (Twitter link). Manager David Bell told Feinsand that Gray was initially concerned about the elbow discomfort but is in vastly better spirits and has felt improvement each day since being scratched. For the time being, it seems, the Reds have decreasing reason to be concerned about Gray’s status.
  • ]]>
    70
    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Reds, Gray, Rangers, Red Sox, Porcello]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=150689 2019-02-23T18:36:13Z 2019-02-23T18:36:13Z The Reds rotation upgrades are the story of their winter, though impending free agency for Alex Wood and Tanner Roark means there’s not much time for this unit to gel. Their third big addition, Sonny Gray, is the most significant of the three if only because he immediately signed a three year, $30.5MM extension. Unfortunately, Reds fans will have to wait for Gray’s debut, as he was scratched from his start today with right elbow stiffness, per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay. Gray came to camp sore a couple days after throwing a bullpen session, but the hope is a little extra rest will get Gray right again. The team did not perform an MRI, and there’s no reason to suspect anything serious at this time. Time to check in on another couple of stories from around the league…

    • Each January, the Rangers invite a select group of top pitching prospects for a week-long mini-camp with the major league staff in advance of Spring Training, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. This season, however, they sent an even smaller group of about ten pitchers to a “secret secondary-pitch intensive.” The camp takes place at Driveline Baseball, an increasingly ballyhooed research and development consultant founded by Kyle Boddy. Trevor Bauer is one noted client, as is a couple of potential feel-good stories of 2019, Kyle Zimmer of the Royals and the Cubs 37-year-old rookie Luke Hagerty. Among the Rangers sent to Driveline were bullpen hopefuls like C.D. Pelham, Brett Martin, Michael Matuella, Jason BahrNick Snyder and Brady Feigl. The exact purpose of the camp remains unclear, and Jon Daniels and the Rangers have been none too keen to speak on the subject. Still, the Driveline story is one to track throughout the year, as we may be hearing more from the innovative research group.
    • Rick Porcello is open to furthering his time with the Red Sox, but they have yet to approach him about an extension, per Rob Bradford of WEEI Sports Radio Network. Porcello excelled in 2016 when he was able to limit walks and home runs en route to winning 22 games and the AL Cy Young, despite a FIP of only 3.40. Now in the final year of the four year, $82.5MM deal signed before that season, Porcello’s market value is tricky to pinpoint. The Cy Young raises his profile, though he remains closer to a mid-rotation workhorse than a top-of-the-rotation ace. He has a career 4.02 FIP, but he’s also on a remarkable run of durability that makes him an outlier in this era – he has started between 27 and 33 games each season for ten years running. Porcello, 30, is likely not as high on the Red Sox priority list as Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts.
    ]]>
    51
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Add Jose Iglesias On Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=150510 2019-02-23T18:40:22Z 2019-02-23T17:45:04Z 11:45am: It is indeed a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training for Iglesias, who will earn $2.5MM if he makes the team out of camp, with the opportunity for $1MM more based on games played, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

    9:00am: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Reds have a deal in place for Iglesias. No details have been given, though it figures to be a minor league deal.

    Feb 23, 8:44am: The Reds still have not officially announced a deal for Iglesias, but he has a locker and a jersey, per the Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans (via Twitter).

    Feb 22: The Reds and shortstop Jose Iglesias have been discussing a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal and C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic report (via Twitter). If the deal comes to fruition, he’d join Derek Dietrich in MLB camp as a quality veteran with a strong chance at securing a bench role come Opening Day. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Reds are indeed interested, but the veteran Iglesias could wait a bit longer to see if an injury elsewhere in the game opens a clearer path to regular at-bats.

    Iglesias, 29, is one of the game’s premier defenders at shortstop and actually had an improved year at the plate in 2018, hitting .269/.310/.389 in 464 plate appearances — good for both a 90 OPS+ and wRC+ (essentially indicating that his bat was about 10 percent worse than that of a league-average hitter after adjusting for his home park and league). For a player with his defensive prowess, that level of offense is more than acceptable, which is why both Fangraphs (2.5) and Baseball-Reference (2.2) both felt that Iglesias was worth more than two wins above replacement last season.

    That said, Iglesias’ bat was considerably less productive in 2016-17, when he posted a timid .255/.297/.353 batting line over the life of 1002 plate appearances. It’s now been three full seasons since Iglesias enjoyed a quality season at the plate, when he hit .300/.347/.370 (99 OPS+) back in 2015.

    The Reds already have some infield depth beyond starting shortstop Jose Peraza. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez has the ability to slide over to shortstop in a pinch, and Cincinnati also has one of baseball’s premier prospects, Nick Senzel, looming in Triple-A (although Senzel is currently working in the outfield as he vies for a job in center field). Iglesias, though, would give them a clear backup at shortstop while also providing the ability to handle second base and third base when needed.

    Iglesias’ situation appears somewhat similar to that of veteran catcher Martin Maldonado, who is reportedly drawing interest from the Mariners but having difficulty securing a Major League deal. Both are light hitters who are among the game’s best defenders at their respective positions but have seemingly been unable to find a team willing to sign them to the big league roster.

    ]]>
    77
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Schebler Vying For Center Field Job]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=150434 2019-02-22T14:52:07Z 2019-02-22T14:51:33Z
  • Because the Reds have yet to add a true center field option to the roster, Scott Schebler is among the top options to break camp in that role, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The 28-year-old does have a nominal amount of experience at the position, having logged a combined 358 innings there across the past three seasons. “I’m interested to see him in center,” rookie manager David Bell said to Sheldon. “Everyone I’ve talked to that has seen him, people are confident that he can do it. I am, too, but it’ll be a good opportunity to see him out there. I’m convinced he can be really good in left and right.” Schebler will have some competition for the center field gig in the form of Yasiel Puig and top prospect Nick Senzel, though Senzel played in only 44 games last season due to a fractured finger and vertigo symptoms; he was also forced to sit out the Arizona Fall League after undergoing elbow surgery.
  • ]]>
    88
    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[No Agreement Between Reds, Robbie Ross]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=149550 2019-02-20T04:23:11Z 2019-02-20T03:00:07Z Feb. 19: A source tells MLBTR that there is no current agreement between the Reds and Ross. While the two sides have talked, Ross is continuing to throw for other clubs as he seeks a landing spot for the 2019 campaign.

    Feb. 16: The Reds have reportedly signed reliever Robbie Ross to a minor league deal.

    Ross, 29, held down a regular spot in the Ranger and Red Sox bullpens from 2012-16, but has missed much of the last two seasons with elbow and back problems. In 2016, his last full season of work, Ross turned in an excellent 3.25 ERA/3.27 FIP (0.7 fWAR) on the back of career-best (9.11 K/9, 0.33 HR/9) peripherals. The lefty’s slider, always a cut above, checked in as the 9th best version of the pitch among all qualified relievers that year, per FanGraphs.

    Though his bat-missing acumen against opposite-side hitters has largely prevented a breakaway from the journeyman pack, Ross still sports a respectable .319 career wOBA against vs. righties, and shouldn’t be confined to a specialist-only role. The veteran will hope to regain the 2.4 MPH he lost (down to a career-low 91.8 average MPH) on his fastball after injuries took hold.

    Ross will look to join an in-flux Reds bullpen spearheaded by a dominant Raisel Iglesias and otherwise peppered with mostly-fungible names. Zach Duke and Amir Garrett carry the unit’s southpaw flag at current, though a pain-free Ross may well squeeze himself in.

    ]]>
    10
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Scooter Gennett Frustrated By Lack Of Extension Talks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=150005 2019-02-19T20:40:07Z 2019-02-19T20:40:07Z Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett expressed frustration today with the lack of engagement by the organization regarding a long-term contract, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

    Saying that his side has “opened it up” in search of a dialogue this winter, Gennett says he has “heard absolutely nothing.” Previously, he and the club worked out a $9.775MM deal to cover his final season of arbitration eligibility. That’s a hefty sum, to be sure, but did fall shy of the $10.7MM that MLBTR projected.

    Gennett made clear that his primary frustration isn’t the lack of a long-term deal so much as it is the club’s communication on the matter. “What I don’t like is when you’re told we’re going to have a talk and it doesn’t happen,” he said. GM Nick Krall declined to comment, citing club policy.

    In the middle of the 2018 campaign, Gennett said he had reason to believe there was serious interest from the club in an extension. Things seemingly shifted this winter, though, for the Cincinnati native. President of baseball operations Dick Williams cast doubt on the possibility of a deal and Gennett even briefly popped up in trade rumors.

    There’s still time for a change of course in camp, but there’s clearly no momentum toward an agreement at present. Gennett says he’s fine with the current arrangement from a financial perspective — “I’m only going to make more money going year-to-year than if I signed a long-term deal” — but would like to know what to anticipate from a personal perspective.

    Looking at the subject from a roster-building perspective, it’s not too hard to see why the Reds might have hesitated. Gennett is still just 28 years of age and has now put up two-straight quality seasons, but he also has some platoon limitations and only lines up at second base defensively. While the plan is to put top prospect Nick Senzel at center field this spring, it’s also possible that he or another rising prospect could make for a compelling infield option in the relatively near term. With other needs already readily foreseeable next winter, locking into Gennett for significant money comes with some clear downside.

    ]]>
    89
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nick Senzel Hires Wasserman Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=149958 2019-02-19T03:56:22Z 2019-02-19T03:56:22Z Top Reds prospect Nick Senzel has changed agents, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. He’s now represented by the Wasserman Group and agent Joel Wolfe.

    For the time being, the 23-year-old Senzel has plenty of non-contractual matters on his plate. He is working to recover from a finger injury that cost him a big chunk of time last year, learning to patrol the outfield, and trying to convince the front office to bring him up to the majors — if not right out of camp, then not long thereafter.

    Odds are that the Reds will at least leave Senzel at Triple-A Louisville for a stretch to open the year. Service time is a relevant consideration for any highly rated players. But the above-noted factors arguably provide ample justification for a stretch in the minors.

    [RELATED: MLBTR Agency Database]

    The second overall pick of the 2016 draft and a consensus top-ten overall prospect leaguewide, Senzel has done nothing but impress in the minors. He’ll likely be up sooner than later. So long as he spends at least a couple of weeks in the minors to open the season, though, he’ll be controlled by the Reds through at least the 2025 campaign.

    ]]>
    33
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds, Derek Dietrich Agree To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=149749 2019-02-18T16:11:29Z 2019-02-18T15:49:42Z The Reds have reached an agreement on a minor league contract with free-agent infielder Derek Dietrich, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’ll be in Major League camp and compete for a roster spot. The contract, according to Rosenthal, has a base salary north of $2MM if Dietrich makes the big league roster. He’s represented by SportsMeter.

    Derek Dietrich | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    It registers as a somewhat of a surprise that Dietrich, who’ll play most of the upcoming season at age 29, had to settle for a non-guaranteed pact on the heels of yet another solid season at the plate. The Marlins cut him loose rather than pay a salary projected to be worth more than $4MM, but Dietrich still seemed like a candidate to land a big league deal after hitting a combined .262/.344/.428 (114 OPS+) over the past four seasons. This past season, he logged career-highs in plate appearances (551), home runs (16) and doubles (26).

    While Dietrich has proven himself to be a solid bat, he’s also proven to be a defensive liability. Second base, left field and third base have been his most frequent positions at the MLB level, and he’s drawn negative ratings at each spot from both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating. However, the outfield corners are the only spots where Dietrich’s glove has graded out at a particularly alarming level (-23 DRS, -16 in 1120 innings). His defense at second base and third base has been sub-par but not abysmal, and he’s been worth 4.7 wins above replacement overall through the past three seasons, per Fangraphs.

    Looking around the Cincinnati roster, it doesn’t appear as though there’ll be everyday at-bats for Dietrich, barring an injury in camp. Joey Votto is entrenched at first base, while Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez have second base and third base, respectively, locked down. The outfield corners don’t present an avenue for regular playing time, either, as the Reds currently have Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler all in that mix already. Top prospect Nick Senzel is looming in Triple-A as well, and he seems likely to get a look in center field this season (though he’s a natural infielder).

    Dietrich, however, can give the Reds a quality left-handed bat off the bench — one who can handle multiple spots around the diamond. Backup catcher Curt Casali and whichever of Schebler, Kemp, Puig and Winker aren’t starting on a given day will fill additional bench spots. Once Senzel arrives on the scene, that mix will only be deepened.

    If Dietrich makes the Reds’ roster and proves to be an asset they’d like to retain beyond the 2019 season, they’ll have the opportunity to do so via arbitration. Dietrich has four years, 151 days of Major League service, meaning he’ll fall shy of six years of service next winter and once again be arbitration-eligible. A lot will need to break right for Dietrich between now and then, but it’s certainly plausible to think that he could parlay today’s agreement into a multi-year run with the Reds.

    ]]>
    78
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds "Still Open For Business," Could Bolster Depth]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=149566 2019-02-17T01:09:11Z 2019-02-17T01:09:11Z Contract extensions, including deals for right-handers Aaron Nola (Phillies) and Luis Severino (Yankees), have been a dominant story across Major League Baseball this week. Sooner than later, the Pirates should follow the Phillies and Yankees in inking their own excellent young righty, Jameson Taillon, for the long haul, Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review opines. Unlike Philly and New York, both of which secured their aces to four-year guarantees worth $40MM or more, Pittsburgh’s not a big spender, perhaps making it all the more important for the Bucs to lock up Taillon at an affordable price in the near future. However, Taillon – who still has four years of control remaining, including three arbitration-eligible seasons – revealed this week that he and the club “haven’t talked about anything” yet. Barring an unexpected change, the 27-year-old will pitch this season for a relative pittance after logging a 3.20 ERA/3.46 FIP with 8.43 K/9 and 2.17 BB/9 over 191 innings in 2018.

    More from the NL Central…

    • Like Taillon, Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw hasn’t discussed an extension with his club, he told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday. Shaw did note that he’d like to be a long-term Brewer, though, and won’t take umbrage at shifting to second base if the team re-signs free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas. Shaw saw his first major league action at the keystone last year, when he made 39 appearances there (compared to 107 at third). Offensively, the soon-to-be 29-year-old delivered his second straight season of 30-plus home runs, helping him notch his second consecutive campaign with at least 3.5 fWAR. Now in his third-last year of team control, Shaw will earn a team-friendly $4.675MM salary.
    • One of Shaw’s fellow Brewers infielders, Hernan Perez, underwent offseason surgery to remove a bone chip in his left wrist, Haudricourt writes. While Perez didn’t mention the injury last season, “it was bothering me a lot,” he said Saturday. The 27-year-old is healthy now, however, and unless the Brewers make a spring acquisition in the form of Moustakas or another infielder, Perez could see substantial playing time again in 2019. From 2016-18, Perez amassed 1,222 plate appearances – including 334 last season – though he combined to hit just .262/.294/.411 during that three-year period.
    • The Reds have been one of the majors’ most active teams in recent months, and they remain “open for business,” according to president Dick Williams (via John Fay and Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Williams likes the team as it’s currently constructed, but he added, “We have some resources to do deals if we find the right ones.” It’s out of the question Cincinnati will pursue Bryce Harper or Manny Machado in free agency, and it’s unlikely it’ll go back after previous target Dallas Keuchel, Fay and Nightengale suggest. Rather, the Reds could look to bolster their depth, specifically in center field and at a shortstop, per Fay and Nightengale.
    ]]>
    39